“You can hate PETA, but this is f**king bullshit.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 17, 2012
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Does this still go on?

Okay, Alec, you got me. The best video I’ve ever seen on this subject.

With thanks for the heads up to Reddit.

“Break its spirit.”

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Alec Baldwin: Boycott Circuses That Use Animals

Actor and animal defender Alec Baldwin describes the sad plight of elephants who are torn from their families and forced to perform grueling tricks in the circus.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


82 Responses to ““You can hate PETA, but this is f**king bullshit.””

  1. SwamiHenderson says:


  2. AlanZ says:

    Thanks for posting. This is tragic.

  3. Jill says:

    Disgusting humans who can treat animals this way.

  4. heather says:

    So sad. parents need to educate their kids young why to avoid a circus. Go see CIrque Du Soleil. its people only.

    • Justamused says:

      Have you ever seen the training that these "people" go through their entire lives, from their birth to their crippled death, to "perform in Cirque De Soliel? PBS had a special on about the Chinese circus. Brutal training!!!! Watch it and maybe you'll be enlitghened.

      • karol says:

        enlighten yourself, Cirque du Soleil hires mostly professional gymnasts and athletes…
        please learn the difference between chinese acrobats and cirque du soleil crew

  5. Neil Ringrose says:

    I want to cry – and then do something about this…

  6. Julie says:

    Yes, this video is so well put together. And all of the behind the scenes documentation in this video was gathered by Peta. I wish other animal activist would quit hating Peta, because they do so much great work for the animals.

    • oz_ says:

      Well, PETA has done quite a lot to earn that scorn – they oppose no-kill shelters and they kill dogs and cats. This isn't rumor or baseless accusation – they're on record: 85% of the animals at PETA shelters are killed by PETA. Estimates are that PETA has killed 23000 dogs and cats over the last decade or so.

      You may disagree, but personally, I have a hard time characterizing this as "great work for the animals."

      • Shinywen says:

        Agreed. I had a friend whose cat suddenly became very ill, at a time when she could not afford a visit to the overnight emergency vet. Via Twitter, a local PETA representative stepped in and said PETA would cover a vet appointment for her. Once my friend arrived at the vet, she was shocked to discover that the appointment PETA had made for her cat was for euthanization. When she contacted the rep, understandably upset, she was told that if her cat was not euthanized, the appointment would NOT, in fact, be paid for by PETA… regardless of what treatment options may have been available. The reason given was that "keeping pets is a form of animal abuse, and we would rather see animals be mercifully dead than captive."
        I appreciate some of the work PETA does for animal rights, but the good stuff does not cancel out this kind of outrageous, deceptive behavior.

        • Guest says:

          I hope you're against abortion then too because that's euthanization of defenseless human animals

        • cindy says:

          i dont agree that keeping animals is a form of animal abuse,but keeping them in tiny cages,with little or no interaction,is worse,i would rather see an animal put down than suffer in cages, i think PETA does great work for animals

        • You hit the nail on the head Shinywen! An animal charity like Peta doesn't deserve the support it gets,the only people who do support them are fanatical radicals,There are a lot more worthy animal charitys,Like IFAW,WSPA,World Veterinary Service etc etc,helping Elephants and all kinds of Animals all over the world,The only reason people don't hear much about them is because they would rather spend cash on helping animals than seeking publicity.Peta are useless,They only want to know about animal abuses when there's a big publicity story in it for them,They completely ignore reports of abuse reported to them because it won't make headlines,I recently reported two cases of people abusing multiple animals and they've done squatt about it,My donations now go to legitimate Animal charitys.I will never support them again after finding out what they're like.

      • ann says:

        not to mention the fact that PETA misses the "humane" stuff when it comes to actual humans…i've been vegan for 15 years and vegetarian for 20, and it's not because i don't like bacon. but PETA's incessant use of women's bodies as tools makes me sick. you don't teach love for animals by hating your own species, in my humble opinion. and as if the 'rather go naked' ads weren't enough, they've managed to add battered women to their repertoire: http://www.care2.com/causes/petas-new-ad-campaign…. but i think the bottom line is that they alienate people. and you can't bring people to your side if you make like this is an us vs. them issue. but this video was excellent, as have been many i've seen that they've made. nothing is all bad or all good, and i don't hate PETA – just wish they did business a bit differently.

    • Brett Hadden says:

      Peta also do a lot against the Interaction between Humans & Animals, Peta main drive is to kill Rescued Animals, as they will not look after them…

      I know people that worked for them years ago.

    • Jess says:

      PETA sucks. This particular point is a good one, but other than that, they're the animal version of the KKK.

  7. Nathan says:

    Why is there no regulation of these types of "entertainers" this would not happen on the set of a movie? Why is this any different?

    • oz_ says:

      What happens on the set of a movie isn't the result of 'regulation' – what happened on Wall St was the result of 'regulation' – this knee jerk notion that 'regulation is the answer' is nonsense. Moviemakers voluntarily bring in animal welfare consultants so that they can say 'we made this movie without harming any animals' – because this is what their user base demands and they don't want to risk bad PR. This is called a 'market incentive' – and it works phenomenally well in many cases AND it doesn't require coercion (which is predicated on threats and arguably violates the principle of ahimsa).

      'Regulation' isn't a magic wand. The government isn't a magic wand. Both are corruptible. A far surer incentive is to threaten the profits of the business entity – which is how movies get made without harming animals.

      The reason it's different is because patrons of circuses – unlike patrons of movies – do not demand the circuses operate without harming animals. That's what needs to change, and this video is part of a campaign to do just that.

      • robertwolf681 says:

        What happened on Wall Street, and continues to happen in financial markets around the world, was a result of massive, ill-considered deregulation.

        • oz_ says:

          The US financial sector is (and was, before and during the '08 crisis) among the most heavily regulated in existence. Simply calling for more regulation utterly misses the point because it diverges from reailty. The problem was not regulation or deregulation so much as it was regulatory capture. That is, when the regulators climb in bed with the regulated – or when the two, as is so often the case in DC, are the same. This is why naive calls for 'more regulation!' are, well, naive.

          The real question is: how do you keep senior and exec VPs in the regulated industry from moving temporarily to government agencies to write the regulations which will govern their actions once they move back to their e-staff positions? 'More regulation' could easily be twisted by the Monsantos of the world to actually work to their BENEFIT under such scenarios.

          There is a stunning naivete to the notion that regulation, per se, is the answer. In fact, as we've seen, more often than not, it's what leads to the problem. What is needed it *effective* regulation, but very few people I see calling for regulation seem to grasp the parameters that would be needed in order to make it effective.

          All that said, Robert, if you are talking Glass-Steagall, then I totally agree. That was a regulation the removal of which – during Clinton's reign, it's important to note – proved disastrous.

          • robertwolf681 says:

            I wasn't thinking of Glass-Steagall specifically, more the way in which global financial markets have become something akin to a casino, in which it's legal for currency speculators to ~ for example ~ toy with the price of essential food staples in order to line their own pockets.

            To me, that speaks very obviously of a lack of regulation. Yes, that regulation needs to be effective. Yes, those who are charged with enforcing the regulation need to be independent of those they regulate. Those are fundamental principles of any good system of governance.

            That's not to say that the current free-for-all, in which those most adept at gaming the financial markets are rewarded with massive profits, even as they impoverish vast swathes of the planet, is any kind of answer.

          • oz_ says:

            Well, perhaps our difference is only semantic, but it's not a lack of regulation but a lack of effective regulation that is at fault, IMO. And it is actually that word 'effective' that points directly to the why and the how of today's corrupted financial system, which is why it is essential (and which is why, as I've stated, called for simply 'more regulation' or even just 'regulation' are useless).

            I don't see the system as a casino so much as a *crooked* casino, because in the former, the odds are established and fixed (slightly in favor of the house), but in the latter, they can be adjusted at the whim of those running the show to the point where the rubes never win. We're almost there. To even speak of 'good governance' is to miss the point that the crooked casino owners are running the show in its entirety.

            Arguably, this has always been the case in America (see Morris Berman's latest – or interview with him here for details: http://tinyurl.com/6ow7tgw) – the difference now is that a game of musical chairs has ensued as the end of the possibility of economic growth is in sight. As long as the casino was paying out reliably on occasion and not *too* greedy in its extraction of wealth, most Americans were happy to play along. Now that the pool of chairs has shrunk considerably (for reasons most will never grasp), the hustlers at the top have changed the rules to ensure their continued access to – as you so eloquently put it "massive profits, even as they impoverish vast swathes of the planet". Thus, the Tea Party. Thus, Occupy. Differing responses to the same stimulus.

          • robertwolf681 says:

            Yeah, I think we're into semantics now, Oz. When I advocate regulation, I'm assuming that it will be regulation that actually does what it is intended to do!

            Pretty much agree with the rest of your post.

    • Jaydonone says:

      I was so happy that the Hobbit was finally a movie…then I heard about all of the poor animals that they neglected and I refuse to ever watch it as long as I live. I read that book on a Greyhound going to Florida 42 years ago. The bood will be all I'll ever have to do with The Hobbit.

  8. Earth Muffin says:


  9. Sarah Kemp says:

    You can ask your congressmen/women to make your state elephant-free. This would ban Ringling Bros and other performance groups that use elephants and other wild animals from performing in your state. AND, it might make way for some real talented individuals to fill your local venues. Like Cirque du Soleil, Yo-Yo Ma or Justin Bieber (hehehe)

  10. You bet Peta sucks, but you have to give credit where credit is due. And it's a shame so many seem to be just learning about this issue, I've been fighting against animals in circuses for 25 years. Well, better late than never, so much needs to be done, and I'd start with boycotting and kick it up from there. And spread the word!

  11. Scott Rubel says:

    You cannot teach these people things. All you can do is boycott what they sell and hope they all get cancer and die.

    • NO I can boycott what they sell and hope their heart expands and they join the fight to stop abuse.

    • Joni Elle says:

      You know, stopping them from this abuse is the issue. wishing cancer and death to people is NOT! I understand this hurts our humanity, and all the poor defenseless animals who endure these conditions because so many look the other way in this world…. and make money instead of doing something else that really would make people happy like building homes for the struggling and the homeless, and taking proper care of all animals like rescuing them, creating a habitat for them to get strong and charging fees to contribute to the health and maintenance of all of these special creatures…. but let's not get to their level… not ever…. I have cancer and I don't know why… I wouldn't hurt a fly. And I don't like these people for what is going on, yet I wouldn't wish this on them, jail would be better, yes? For these are crimes! Sorry. Peace xo

  12. Rose says:

    Across Canada in the regional municipalities we have a bylaw that does not allow any circus performers or animals to put on a show. They will not receive any permits or accomodation needed to help them. If they enter our municipality then they are escorted out by police. That's all people have to do is pressure their local towns and government representatives and create bylaws to prohibit this type of behavior.

    • Racquelle says:

      Thank you Rose; I'm Canadian and I did not know that, such good news. That is across the board, all provinces?
      I agree with Colleen, Ringling should be charged with animal abuse and stripped of the right to use all animals…

  13. Colleen says:

    This makes me sick. Rose, as a Canadian, I'm delighted to hear that our country enforces a bylaw that denies such circuses an audience. The Ringling Brothers organization should be tried for animal abuse and these beautiful elephants put into loving sanctuaries for the remainder of their days. It is my prayer that there is hope they may be given the opportunity to heal their broken spirit.

  14. Diana says:

    When will human beings realize that they reap what they sow???

  15. Since seeing these animals in the wilds of africa years ago, I find it disgusting to see any of them in the confines of a circus or zoo.

  16. Keith says:

    Tragic as it is, the sad part is people going & paying for these animals to be tortured. Stop going & end the demand….

  17. Mike says:

    So sad, I would like to go to the circus and hunt down these trainers and poke them with shock stick and then tie them down on all fours with a chain

  18. ItsjustMe says:

    Not a fan of PETA but less of a fan of this abuse…boycot the circus.

  19. @MademezElle says:

    heartbreaking 🙁

  20. Boycott the circus!!!!

  21. Subdude says:

    Boycott the circus, open season on elephant trainors and handlers. I'd like to get one and keep him in my basement where his screams can be heard. If you thought what you saw in Alecs video you wouldnt see mine.

  22. Laila Andre says:

    How sad, how tragic – it makes me cry to think this goes on day after day. I am so angry that I could wish a gruesome death on all the handlers and the people who allow this to happen. Surely everyone knows who works and performs in this circus? And what of all the other large animals? Tigers, lions, horses – do they endure the same treatment – I bet they do! Shame on you all who know about this and many thanks to PETA and Alec Baldwin. We should all join this boycott.

  23. J says:

    PETA Kills so many animals . They are a kill shelter , study the facts on this group of hypocrites . This info is out there . If you donate to PETA than you hate animals . By the way when was the last time a PETA activist threw fake blood on a man wearing leather shoes ? Only women that is their main targets. A wolf was tortured and killed recently in Idaho where was PETA ? They are cowards and fear men especially hunters .

  24. Danna Goltz says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article, I was searching for details like this, going to check out the other posts.

  25. […] Cruelty. This video has cemented my plans to no longer attend our local zoo until they cease to use bullhooks on their […]

  26. Mike says:

    This sickens me!!!!!

  27. Leslie says:

    I feel sad even when I go to the zoo. Those animals NEVER look happy.

  28. cruelestshowonearth says:

    this is why i hate america.

    • Guest says:

      hm, aren't the people exposing the abuse americans? do you hate them too? or, gee, perhaps this would NEVER happen in other countries – I bet the poachers in africa treat their elephants better. think before you make stupid statements.

  29. nancy says:

    Cruelty to animals must be stopped.

  30. Disgusting.

    What can we do to help stop this?

  31. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Hell yeah, Alec. Hell yeah.

  32. eva says:

    What a lack of consciousness! I hope everyone sees this video, and I'll certainly never go to a circus that uses animals!

  33. Jonathan David Kane says:

    Hi Waylon. A friend posted this link on my wall. Thank you for sharing this very important issue. Please see the film How I Became an Elephant. It deals with this issue and the international trade of elephants in Asia. Very informative. http://howibecameanelephant.com/

  34. Dee says:

    Remember also the torture of TN. walking horses and how they are trained for that unnatural gait.

  35. Heather says:

    Thank, thank you for posting this…That is why Dasara and many of the other festivals in India are also problematic. However, from what I understand the trainers who travel long distances and sleep in unfavorable conditions are also suffering. Not that this makes up for it at all……I have a problem with attending these festivals which are traditional and cultural but still have unwarranted animal cruelty connected to them.

  36. Tracy says:

    It's ironic that I've always been the activist, but my laid-back hubby is the one who had to tell me about this as I had no idea! I vividly remember my trip to the circus as a little girl, but I'm proud to say that I've never gone since, nor have our children and they know why. We don't go to Sea World anymore either. I'll keep spreading the word and hope that others will boycott for these reasons as well.

  37. […] congratulations to Alec Baldwin from the Yogi Muse. May you both find happiness as you embark on your journey down a long and […]

  38. Aes says:

    Causes like these can be helped without supporting PETA. Anyone who has done proper research would likely lose favor of the organization. They spend the majority of their funding on advertising, and only a vast minority on any proactive action taken to help animals, and are also affiliated with a few domestic terrorist organizations, and are known to kill healthy, adoptable pets who are unlucky enough to end up in their custody. At the end of the day they are an animal rights organization, their ultimate goal is for animals to have the same rights as people and live freely among our societies. Pets wouldn't be allowed, neither would eating meat. It's a radical, extremist view riddled with duplicity. Animal rights and animal welfare are two different causes, peta draws some attention to animal welfare, but unlike animal welfare shelters and organizations, does little to actually ensure proper care is given to all animals in need. This is why they oppose no-kill shelters, support banning and mass-killing of dogs based on breed, and kill most animals who end up in their care. PETA is just as dangerous as this Circus to the welfare of animals, if not more.

  39. margaret says:

    Boycott the circus. Absolutely. But do not advocate violence upon the trainers in return. It is not the way to peace. The anger you feel toward them will not persuade them to stop. Anger is so easy to fall into, so tempting, but it won't get the message across. A wink is as good as a nod to a blind man. There must be a way to educate these people.

    Thank you, Alec Baldwin, for being the voice of this message. We need more celebrities to endorse under recognized causes. That is how the message seems to get out. Thanks.

  40. @omaxjo says:

    The guy does Citibank commercials. Anybody? Anybody? Anybody think that a great portion of his protest is artifice?

  41. MAURA says:


  42. Brigitte says:

    Powerful. Beyond words. I spent some time with elephants while I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Elephants are incredibly emotional and quite brilliant. I also witnessed the mother/baby bond first hand… it's truly magnificent and unbreakable.
    Elephants feel, love and laugh just like we do.

    Thank you for sharing this. Heartbreaking, yet so important.

  43. Stacie says:

    Thank you EJ for posting this. I just shared it on http://www.facebook.com/sunlightyoga and on twitter: @sunlightyoga

  44. Mary says:

    I had no idea that this cruel training went on. I am sickened by it.

  45. Denn says:

    Any of you guys own cats, that is pretty tragic too.

  46. 258cinnamongirl says:

    Very eye-opening. I've heard that the circus life is a difficult one, yet people chose it. Animals, however, do not have a choice, and it is an infinitely more horrible existence. They have started giving elephant rides at a flea market I pass by. It broke my heart to see kids riding those poor magnificent creatures. There are so many other forms of entertainment that do not include animal cruelty. Help spread the word…

  47. Heather Grimes says:

    I feel like I'm going to vomit.

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